Just because your starting to get older, it doesn’t mean you have to stop everything and start gaining weight. It has been said a million times, but age really is just a number and shouldn’t be used as an excuse ever. In this post, I want to outline what is the best way to lose weight after 50 and show you that it really is possible.
As we get older we tend to find that our metabolism starts to slow and some of us slip into a more sedentary lifestyle. We might even find that we have let some of our eating habits slip a little too much and life has generally become a little more relaxed. Before we know it, we realise that we are gaining weight and we don’t know what to do about it.
It isn’t all about letting things slip that can cause us to gain more weight later in life. We could have a medical issue or an injury. All of which can have an effect on us being motivated to stay healthy and lose weight – believe me, I have been there with a plantar fasciitis injury that plagued me for a few months.
It is completely possible to lose weight after 50 if you follow the right nutritional habits alongside some kind of exercise regimen.
There are many ways to lose weight, feel great, and look good as you get older and I want to share the best strategies to help you achieve your goals.
Choose the Right Diet
By choosing the right diet, I don’t mean one of those low carbs, high fat, point scoring, lose 10lbs in 2 days type of diets. They might work in the short term but ultimately you will fail over time because they are all doing one thing and that’s depriving you to the point you give up.
The right direction to take is to start a nutritional lifestyle – see what I did there? I don’t mention the word diet.
Now, what we should be thinking about is a diet where we are eating whole foods, the right amount of protein, fibre, and good fats and reducing processed foods as much as we can.
I follow a plant-based diet and it works wonders for me and how I want to live my life.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that you should follow a plant-based diet, although I would recommend giving it a try, you need to cut out as much of the garbage from your diet as you can. This means as many processed foods and ‘bad’ fats as you possibly can.
Food itself is over 80% of the battle when it comes to losing weight. You can do as much cardio as you like, but if you nutrition is off then you are going to make your life a whole lot harder than it really needs to be.
Eating more whole foods and reducing the amount of processed foods will help you body slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream which will in turn reduce the risk of accumulating extra fat – something we all want to avoid.
When considering whole foods and reducing the processed garbage, there is something I always like to consider and you should too:
The fewer ingredients in the food, the better it’s going to be for your overall health and weight.
I have often seen a lot of hype around intermittent fasting for weight loss as well. Honestly, it might work, but I’m a strong believer in breakfast to start your day.
I often start the day with a black coffee, followed by a bowl of oats, made with water and topped with some fresh berries and seeds.
Alternatively, I also enjoy a healthy green smoothie made with unsweetened almond milk, berries, kale, spinach and sometimes a serving of flavoured vegan protein powder for a bit of sweetness.
Incorporate Strength Training
At the age of 52, I need to be very specific about the training I do in the gym.
You don’t need to be one of those guys that’s in there for hours on end doing multiple reps and sets on many individual muscle groups.
As you get older, the best workouts at the gym are strength training ones and more specifically, only doing the 5 core exercises that offer the most bang for your buck.
Now there are lots of workouts that incorporate these exercises, like Stronglifts 5×5, Wendler 5,3,1, or Starting Strength. All of which involve the 5 greatest and most effective exercises you can do for overall strength and muscle mass.
- Bench Press
- Overhead Press
- Barbell Row
Each of these exercises will generally work for multiple muscle groups at the same time and I have found this method of strength training to have not only made me stronger and leaner but also help me stay injury-free, especially when I am running.
Get Plenty of Sleep
I have to say, in the past and even now at times, my sleeping pattern has been awful. When my diet was poor and I didn’t exercise much, I didn’t get anywhere near enough sleep and that what I did get was broken and uncomfortable.
Lack of sleep generally adds up to a bad start to your day and the ability to get motivated diminishes greatly.
The way it worked for me was when I changed my diet to more of a whole food plant-based diet, especially when I initially cut out dairy products, I found that I was sleeping more soundly each evening.
I also cut out drinking and eating snacks, especially at night near to bedtime which also seemed to improve things for me.
That alongside not spending time in front of the computer or tv within an hour of going to be seemed to help me settle down much more easily once I went to bed.
I’m not the longest sleeper in the world, but I generally get 6 – 8 hours in nowadays which means I’m refreshed and ready to tackle each day.
Upgrade Your Mindset
It’s true, age does impact our weight loss because our metabolism slows down, there is a loss of muscle mass, and of course, our hormone levels start to decline.
But don’t be alarmed, this doesn’t mean that we can’t lose weight after the age of 50 at all. The 2 key factors are diet and exercise, but you have to remember that you aren’t in your 20’s anymore so we need to do things a little differently than we did before.
Forget about all the fad diets out there, you have done all that in the past – ask yourself, did they work. You will generally find that they did for a while but eventually everything went back to normal. This why you need to adjust your way of eating that is going to promote balanced eating with the right nutrition – it’s the only sustainable way to make it work.
As for the fitness side of things, same again, you’re not a youngster any more so you have to have a plan to keep yourself active. Remember, exercise is great for your health alongside the right diet, and it’s also great for mental health too.
Stay focused on the goal and you will succeed I promise you.
I have to say, as someone who runs a lot I tend to be a bit of a loner when it comes to my fitness strategy. However, many people find it beneficial to do something with a friend or family member.
It can be wonderful to have people there to offer encouragement and support when you need it most. If this is you then it’s certainly worth thinking about for sure.
Although I do exercise on my own a lot, one of the things that can slip now and again is my eating habits. Luckily I have a wife who also follows a plant-based lifestyle and is a great cook too. So whenever I’m feeling a bit lazy with the food, she is often on hand to get me back on track.
Doing things with friends, family or co-workers can really help to strengthen your commitment to your end goal, so if this is you then go for it.
Hydrate the Right Way
It might seem obvious to some, but it definitely isn’t to others. You need to cut out the sugary drinks like the overly sweetened coffees, pre-made smoothies, sports drinks, and energy drinks. They are awful for all of us, not just those that are over 50 years of age.
Many of these drink types are heavily linked to some serious diseases like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes to name but a few.
Swap these drinks for the best and cheapest drink on the planet – Water.
Here is my typical day with drinks. I wake up and have a black coffee, sometimes with a splash on unsweetened almond milk.
One more black coffee during the day, maybe a herbal tea of some kind, I love Red Tea.
The rest of the day I drink water. I aim for around 2 litres per day which is just about the recommended intake for most people. It can vary depending on what activity I’m doing as well. If I’m running I will probably drink 600ml during that time at least.
Just stop and have a think about what you drink – you may be surprised how many poor choices you make throughout the day.
I like to get as much of the vitamins and minerals I need from the food I eat, but sometimes you need a little boost.
For instance, for someone who eats a plant-based diet, I may not get all of the vitamin B12 I need from my food, so I take a supplement in the form of a spray. B12 deficiency can often lead to fatigue and poor brain function so take it would be my advice.
I also use an Iron supplement and Vitamin C if I’m feeling a bit under the weather, but that’s just about it.
In my opinion, for me, I tend to get everything else from my food.
Although weight loss may appear to get harder with age, it really doesn’t need to be. There are many simple strategies to lose weight after 50, you just need to go about it the right way.
Cutting out added sugar, finding the right nutrition plan for you, and incorporating some form of strength training and exercise into your routine, you will be sure to improve your overall health and lose excess body fat.
Try incorporating some of these simple strategies for what is the best way to lose weight after 50 and I believe you might just surprise yourself and what you are capable of. Like I have said many times before, if I can do it after being a heavy, overweight smoker, then I’m convinced most other people can too.